Conversations in the car

Conversations in the car

During my tween years I spent countless hours in the car; being ferried to and from swimming training, to the city to see my dad, netball, friends places, parties.

Living in the country and just outside of town meant Mum and I were often trapped in the moving bubble, the paddocks rushing by, trees blurring, all turning into one. I used to lean on the window watching the lines of the road running together, running apart, running together.

Some days I’d wish we could just teleport to our destination, no patience for the conversations with my mum. Others, and more often, I’d wish the drive was just that little bit longer. A little bit further. A bit more quiet with just the two of us.

Our eyes wouldn’t meet, yet we’d cover more topics in those stolen moments than any other time. No interruptions from my little sister, no chores to be done, dinner to be made, work to be worried about. Just the car, the road and us.

As Poss has gotten older, those drives have become more important to me. It’s the time she asks the questions she’s not sure about, the moments that her thoughts slip out unguarded as she knows she has my undivided attention.

There might not be a younger sister stealing my attention, but in the car there is no phones, no TV, no laptop. Often it’s just silence and us.

Tonight on the drive home from school we covered erections (apparently boys just touch it too much, they should stop that), the shape of the moon and whether it’s waxing or waning, the state of her homework (poor, for the record) and how traffic lights work.

I’m not sure we made eye contact once, there was no body language to decipher and the conversation was strong. Her ability to link sequences of chat together when she doesn’t have to worry about those other social niceties is impressive. She’s witty, smart and her conversations delight and amuse me in almost equal measure.

When I went along to the session on puberty, adolescence and ASD a couple of weeks ago, amongst all the other tips and ideas they suggested, one that has stuck in my mind is the recommendation that we should try approaching issues in the car.

Use the time together to connect without the jumble of life getting in the way, without the pressure of having to make eye contact. And in a moving vehicle so the tweens can’t escape in an attempt to avoid embarrassment.

Although I’m not sure that last one is really true. But I’m running with it.

And if anyone has a better explanation of erections than what I mumbled out when trying to correct her, that would be great.


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